Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catechetical Talk #12 (The Mosaic Law)

Here is the talk I gave to my 3 prayer groups on July 5th, 6th, & 13th. The talk includes reflections on the Sacrifice of the Mass and our own Baptismal consecration in light of the sacrifices and regulations of the old law. 

* Source: Exposition of Christian Doctrine, Part I --- Dogma.



Mission of Moses:

1st, To deliver His people from the slavery of Egypt;

2nd, To preserve them, to form and constitute them into a body politic, in order to commit to them the sacred deposit of revealed truth.


  • The Law promulgated on Mt. Sinai was a law of fear.
  • It is called the Written Law. It is so called to distinguish it from the natural law, which God has engraven on the heart of man.
  • God gave this law in writing, because He wished thereby to attach the Jewish people more closely to Himself, and to preserve them the better from the dangers of idolatry.
  • The Mosaic law contains 2 parts. The first reiterates the primitive articles of belief, and contains the Decalogue; it is perpetual, universal, and common to the patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the Christian religion. The second, which was both religious and social, was temporary, local, and peculiar to the Israelites.


The object of the religious legislation was the worship of God. Its prescriptions concerned: 1st, The sanctuary and its ministers; 2nd, The sacrifice, the sabbath, and the festivals; 3rd, Certain personal religious acts.

The Sanctuary

  • Tabernacle or portable tent: Holy/ Sanctuary and the Holy of holies
  • In the Holy of holies is the ark of the covenant
  • Levites (from the tribe of Levi), priests (from the family of Aaron of the tribe of Levi), and the high priest (head of the family of Aaron)
  • Priests alone had the right to enter the Holy, and only the high priest could enter the Holy of holies once a year.

The Sacrifice, the Sabbath, and the Festivals

  • Sacrifice: it is an offering of some object to God by a lawful minister, who, by a mystical rite, changes or destroys it in His honor, in order to acknowledges His sovereign dominion, to thank Him for His benefits, to ask Him for favors and for the pardon of sins.
  • Two principal kinds: bloody sacrifices and unbloody sacrifices
  • Animals for bloody sacrifices: the ram and the lamb, the goat, the calf, the turtle, and the dove. They were to be free from all blemish.
  • Kinds of bloody sacrifices: the holocaust, the sin offering, the trespass offering, and the peace offering.
  • Unbloody: fine flour with oil and frankincense; loaves of bread without leaven, tempered with oil; ears of corn dried at the fire, and libations of wine.
  • the end of these sacrifices:
    1. 1st, To pay to God the external worship which the Israelites owed Him;
    2. 2nd, To turn the people away from idolatry;
    3. 3rd, To prefigure the one great sacrifice, the redemption of the human race by Jesus Christ

Sabbath consisted: 1st, In a cessation from all servile work; 2nd, In a holocaust which was offered between the two holocausts offered daily: one in the morning, the other in the evening. Perhaps also the people assembled on this day to discourse on pious subjects this was certainly the case later in the synagogues.

The Sabbath, like all the festival days, began at evening on the vigil; whence our custom of keeping first Vespers,. It ended at sunset.

The principle feasts were the Pasch, Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the feast of Atonement.

Particular Religious Prescriptions

  • Circumcision, offer to God the first-born of men and beasts, forbidden food (e.g. pork, fleshes of animals died from sickness or accidents)
  • two kinds of vows: 1st, Positive: offering to God an animal or a person, and this offering might in many cases be redeemed; 2nd, Negative: one bound himself to abatain from lawful things.

My English Talk:



My Chinese Talk:



Please click here or here for my others Catechetical talks for the prayer groups.